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External trade surplus confirmed shrinking in March

In March 2018, export volume fell by 3.2% and import volume by 0.5% year-on-year. The surplus was EUR 567 million, some EUR 255 mln less than the figure in March 2017. In the first three months of 2018, the external trade surplus was EUR 2.1 billion.

According to calendar-adjusted figures, export and import volumes increased by 4.4% and 6%, respectively, a second estimate of data for the external trade in goods from the Central Statistical Office (KSH) reveals.

In March 2018, the value of exports amounted to EUR 9.132 bln, and that of imports to EUR 8.565 bln. Year-on-year, the value of exports decreased by 3.7% and that of imports by 1.1% in euro terms. (The surplus in trade of EUR 567 mln is EUR 9 mln more than the value published in the KSHʼs first estimate.)

The forint price level of the external trade in goods increased by 0.3% in imports and 0.4% in exports. The terms of trade thus improved by 0.1%. The forint exchange rate weakened by 0.9% against the euro and appreciated by 13% against the dollar.

Calculated at prices of March 2017, the trade of machinery and transport equipment decreased by 1.3% in exports, and increased by 1.4% in imports. Exports of road vehicles slightly decreased, but their imports increased somewhat, which was due to the change in the trade of passenger vehicles and their components both in imports and in exports. Exports of power-generating machinery and equipment fell slightly, while imports were down nearly one-tenth.

The import volume of telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment decreased by nearly one-fifth, while their export volume grew slightly.

The export volume of manufactured goods decreased by 3.1% and their import volume by 1.8%. Exports of medical and pharmaceutical products slightly increased, while their imports decreased by nearly one-fifth. Exports of plastics in primary forms barely changed, while their imports were up slightly.

The import volume of fuels and electricity decreased by 6%. Both imports and exports of petroleum, petroleum products and related materials grew to the same extent, by nearly one-tenth, while imports of natural and manufactured gas decreased by half. Imports of electricity increased by one-tenth.

The export volume of food, beverages and tobacco was down by 13%, while their import volume grew by 1.2%. Exports of cereals and cereal preparations decreased by nearly half, and imports declined by more than one-fifth. Exports of meat and meat products increased by nearly one-tenth, while their imports slightly decreased.

The increase in exports was mainly connected to the trade of poultry for human consumption, and in imports the trade of pork had an effect on the change. Exports of beverages and tobacco slightly increased, while imports were up by nearly one-tenth.

The volume of exports to EU member states decreased by 3.2% and that of imports from these countries was 0.5% higher. The surplus in trade with the EU was down by EUR 317 mln, amounting to EUR 623 mln. The share of trade with these countries was 79% in exports and 77% in imports.

In extra-EU trade, the volume of exports was down by 2.8% and that of imports by 3.4%. The trade balance with this group of countries thus improved by EUR 62 mln, showing a deficit of EUR 56 mln.

In January–March 2018

The value of exports amounted to EUR 26.142 bln, and that of imports to EUR 24.036 bln, in the first quarter of 2018, compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.

The volume of exports was up by 4.1%, and that of imports by 4.8%.

The surplus on the trade balance thus decreased by EUR 44 mln, and amounted to EUR 2.106 bln.

The forint price level of external trade in goods did not change in exports and decreased by 0.1% in imports in Q1 2018. The terms of trade thus improved by 0.1%. The forint exchange rate depreciated by 0.6% against the euro, but appreciated by 13% against the dollar.

A first estimate of data for the external trade in goods for April 2018 will be published by the KSH on June 8, with a second estimate to follow on July 3.